Exclusive Interview with Larry Coleman – Screenwriter
L. E. Coleman is a screenwriter from Indianapolis, Indiana, who loves writing sci-fi movies, off-beat comedies, and character-driven dramas. Before beginning a career in screenwriting, he held various positions with the Indiana Family and Social Service Administration and the Indiana Department of Mental Health and Addictions. From his experiences working with diverse populations attempting to overcome tremendous barriers, he co-founded Crowner-Coleman Publishing, a small press dedicated to writing self-help material dealing with relationships, child custody, and co-dependency
He was a Roadmap Writers Diversity Initiative Recipient in 2018 and was accepted into the International Screenwriters Association Development Slate in 2020. While on the Development Slate he was selected by the ISA as one of the Top 25 screenwriters to watch for 2021. He has over seventy screenplay placements and wins, including placements in such screenwriting competitions like The Austin Film Festival, The Final Draft Big Break Contest, and the PAGE International Screenplay Awards. He hopes one day to write and direct his own movies.
NY Glam: What projects are you currently working on?
I’m currently rewriting a drama that placed in the Austin Film Festival several years ago. It’s called Two Against Flood, and it’s based on the life of my father-in-law who passed away in his nineties and who was interviewed by Popular Mechanics Magazine in the seventies for building the first electric car here in Indianapolis. He was a wonderful man, a genius with only an eighth-grade education. I considered him more of a father than an in-law. The story centers on his reluctance to accept he had Alzheimer’s. In the movie, he takes off in a storm in his experimental car to prove he could find his way home and gets stranded in an evacuated small town with a black teenager who is running away from problems of her own. The two must decide if they want to come to grips with what is happening in their lives or give themselves to the impending flood. A melodrama for sure, that ends well.
NY Glam: What makes a film great for you? Are there certain qualities that make a film better for you?
A great film for me is something a little off the beaten path and has a feeling of darkness or quirkiness around it. I like to be surprised. Crimes of Passion, Blue Velvet, Swiss Army Man, The Crying Game, these are just a few my favorites. I love David Lynch movies. All in all, if I had to be mentored by anyone in the industry it would be David Lynch. He is the epitome of an artist.
NY Glam: As a screenwriter, what is the most important aspect of building a character?
I believe the most important aspect of building character is knowing your character’s backstory. After all, a character’s personality has been shaped by experience layered over experience, response over response. When we are triggered by various experiences, we tend to respond to them in one of two ways; fight or flight. My job is to make the character face himself and hopefully change him throughout the film. I believe every character should be put on the psychiatrist’s couch. Those who refuse to lie down are not qualified to be there. Of course, I’m biased. My background is in social services and mental health. I’m an advocate for a deep dive into your personality. I would tell every writer to force his or her character into the shrink’s office.
NY Glam: Top 3 favorite projects that you have been involved in?
At this point in time, I’m still in the pitch tent. I’ve had consults and coverages out the wazoo. I’ve met some wonderful people who have worked for major production companies, and their input has been invaluable. I’ve been pitching for some time now, all the while working on creating new content. I was contacted recently by a filmmaker for potential collaboration, and because he has several films under his belt, this may be the break I’ve been looking for. As far as screenwriting goes, I’ve written over twenty features and two pilots, and the three I’d really like to see made are: Little Boys, a drama about male childhood sexual abuse, The Abyssinian, a World War I drama about an Ethiopian soldier who helps an Italian Cardinal try to take down Benito Mussolini, and Swirl City, a dystopian sci-fi movie about the devastating effects of a race war and the new society that emerges from the chaos. These films require a bigger budget to make, and by some stroke of a miracle, I hope they see the light of day.
NY Glam: Do you express yourself creatively in any other ways?
I mentioned David Lynch’s name earlier as being the epitome of a true artist. Like him, I love painting. I majored in art in high school and wanted to pursue a degree in art in college, but my mother wouldn’t go for it. I’m a musician. I wrote songs and performed in a local group after high school and well into my twenties. I had my first drumkit at eight, learned how to play bass at fourteen, taught myself keyboards and rhythm guitar in my twenties. I’m a member of ASCAP and a published songwriter, and even got airplay on a major radio station for a solo project. Although hand surgeries have limited these abilities, I still dabble a bit.
NY Glam: What advice would you give to someone who wants to have a career in filmmaking?
My best advice to anyone who wants to be a filmmaker or screenwriter besides honing your craft is to get out there and network your ass off. Artists are loners by nature, but no man is an island. People must know who you are and what you are doing. You really can’t know anyone when you’re stuck behind a computer screen all day. I was able to attend a few festivals last year and the most rewarding thing was sharing a meal with other writers and filmmakers.
NY Glam: What can we expect from you in this actual year?
You can expect a push for more visibility, more collaboration, and a debut film to let people know who I am and what I bring to the table as a writer. I have over seventy contest placements, many of them wins. I’ve placed in major competitions but have shifted my focus to festivals because of the networking possibilities. I shy away from nothing. I use competitions to not only promote myself but to gauge where I am at in the pecking order. If competitions are good enough for Shia LaBeouf to promote his ideas, they are good enough for me too.
NY Glam: Where can everyone keep up with you to learn more? …social media…website
People can connect with me …
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